The top 10 ERP systems lists cause more harm than good. And you should never select your ERP based on a top 10 list. However, there are instances where the top 10 lists might be useful. For example, if your goal is to build your career on a product, you should be betting on the most successful products.
Also, as an ERP buyer, you must look for products that have a vibrant consulting base. So you don’t lock yourself with an ERP product with few consultants and experts in the market. This is where the top 10 lists could play a role in your decision-making. So whether you use the top 10 lists for your decision or not, they have a role to play. And the list of top 10 ERP systems helps you understand the overall positioning and their likely growth.
This article outlines the top 10 ERP systems for 2022 that should be part of your evaluation. To finalize this list, we have analyzed hundreds of ERP systems and their capabilities through publicly available information, along with our teams’ experience in evaluating these ERP systems for our customers.
The purpose of this article is not to recommend these products. You must carefully analyze your requirements to find a suitable product. Also, note that this article lists the ERP systems/products instead of the ERP vendors. Even if a vendor may have more market share but not a dominant product, you might not see it on this list.
The larger the market share, the more R&D funds it is likely to attract. And the more consultants will be drawn to the ERP to build their careers and resume. And access to talent must be a criterion for your ERP selection.
So we not only look at the number of installs, but we also look at the size of the customers. The higher the market share of the product, the higher it ranks on our list.
Who owns the ERP vendor? Is it a private equity company, a family or a group of families, or a wealthy corporate investor? PE companies are likely to sell the product after 5-10 years, and the product strategy may change. The strategy changes as per the preferences of the new owner.
The products owned by PE companies and family-owned are likely to rank lower on our list. They rank lower due to the uncertainty of product strategy.
While some ERP publishers might argue that cloud-native functionality does not matter as much. It matters only when you choose cloud as the deployment option, this is not true. Suppose a vendor is behind in cloud-native development. In that case, most likely, they are trying to sell their legacy code. They do so as they cannot develop the cloud-native functionality as fast as other vendors due to the underlying limitations of the product. Or they need to make sure that the code base works for both cloud and on-prem customers.
Regardless of the deployment choice, cloud-native functionality will always be superior and more efficient than legacy code. So the more cloud-native the product, the higher it ranks on our list.
The larger the ecosystem, the more adopted the product will be as consultants like to work on products likely to survive in the long term. Suppose an ERP publisher is unable to build the consulting base. In that case, you will struggle to find talent to support the product, integrate it with other software, and build the last mile functionality needed for your company.
So we have looked at several places, including social media groups, # of social media followers, and the engagement level of the communities. The larger the community for a product, the higher it ranks on our list.
Does the publisher own the code? Or do they use a white-labeled, third-party add-on to sell a product on their papers? How critical is this add-on to support the industry functionality? Is it just an analysis add-on that might not write anything back to the ERP? Or is the inventory definition supported by an add-on that multiple critical systems share?
We have considered only the native functionality owned by the publisher for this analysis. The add-ons and vendor relationships pose significant risks for the product’s success and implementation. So the products richer natively rank higher on our list.
The acquired products built by cash-starved companies tend to have significantly poorer publicly available documentation, making it harder for developers and users to use the product. The ERP publishers that rely on their internal talent to implement and support the ERP product tend to have poorer product documentation. Because the documentation does not go through the same scrutiny as it would if the product documentation were part of the release and were available publically for the customers and consultants.
The lack of publicly available documentation makes it harder to perform a deeper analysis during ERP selections. The poorer the product documentation, the lower it ranks on our list.
The ERP publishers with their core business model focused on ERP tend to be more committed to their ERP products. They will have their acquisition and R&D strategy aligned to the product.
And suppose it is just another product in the portfolio and other technical products such as communication, database, etc. In that case, the ERP products might not receive as much corporate attention as a product owned by an ERP publisher.
The niche products designed for specific industries tend to struggle for companies with diversified business models. So the more diverse the product, the higher it ranks on our list.
Did the ERP publisher acquire a company to fill a specific hole for this product or other strategic priorities? The more aligned the acquisitions are with the product, the higher it ranks on our list.
The deeper the reviews about specific features or capabilities on public sites, the higher the score for a specific product.
How controlled is the channel? Is the publisher taking the necessary steps to save implementations after selling the licenses? Or they are simply trying to sell licenses to a large distributor who could sell them to the end customers without worrying about the quality of the implementation.
The more controlled the certification program, the higher the product ranks on our list.
There are several edge products that could have a way larger market share than some of these products. And they may be successful in their respective categories, such as Salesforce, Workday, ServiceNow. Ariba, or Coupa, but they don’t have the cross-functional capabilities as of today to be qualified as an ERP product.
So none of the edge products are qualified to be on this list.
Sage Intacct is one of the three cloud-native ERP systems. The large accounting firms typically sell and recommend this solution due to their relationships with Sage. And it is perhaps the only AICPA certified solution. For this reason, the accounting community loves it. It is also a solution with very deep multi-entity functionality and accounting segment features. This feature set makes it easier for accountants to analyze performance and data across entities and cost units.
So while Sage Intacct might not receive the same buzz as Acumatica or NetSuite in the cloud-native category, it still has a higher number of installations than Acumatica as of today. Sage Intacct also has a unique position in the market compared to other products and targets unique industries such as financial services, non-profit, staffing companies, construction, healthcare, and tech.
With the acquisition of Brightpearl, they are likely to get cloud-native capabilities to attack retail, hospitality, and DTC markets. Sage’s large reseller channel and their product strategy to move forward with cloud solutions ensure that Sage Intacct will be getting a lot of attention compared to other products in their portfolio. For these reasons, Sage Intacct lands at the number 10 on our list of top 10 ERP systems.
While Acumatica does not have as global and multi-entity functionality natively built in the product compared to its peers such as NetSuite or Sage Intacct, it has far deeper operational capabilities for certain industries.
In fact, for industries such as distribution, none of the competing solutions such as SAP Business One or Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central might match Acumatica’s capabilities as they have several WMS features built as part of the system. These features could be handy for smaller distributors that can’t afford integration dollars to integrate ERP and WMS systems.
Acumatica is also backed by one of the largest private equity firms, which also holds IFS in their portfolio and has a very clear product strategy and defined target market. Finally, the consulting ecosystem is well-developed similar to other large ERP vendors. Acumatica’s overall revenue is under $100 million and is not yet comparable to other larger ERP vendors such as Epicor or Infor. For these reasons, Acumatica lands at number 9 on our list of top 10 ERP systems.
While there are hundreds of manufacturing and distribution ERP systems, Epicor Kinetic has very deep mixed-mode manufacturing and distribution functionality natively built as part of the product where other competing solutions will fall short. Epicor Kinetic also has far deeper multi-entity functionality richer than other competing solutions such as Acumatica.
While Epicor may not be ahead with its cloud-native strategy, its UX framework is clearly defined and similar to SAP Fiori. Epicor also has deep MES and Industry 4.0 capabilities natively provided that other competing solutions such as Infor CloudSuite Industrial might lack. But since Epicor relies on third-party, white-labeled products for its enterprise quality management features, it might fall short with complex and regulated manufacturing verticals.
Epicor’s overall revenue is not as high as Infor, which was reported at roughly $3 billion. In addition, it is under a billion-dollar similar to other competing ERP vendors IFS, QAD, and Unit4. For these reasons, Epicor lands at number 8 on our list of the top 10 ERP systems for 2022.
Sage X3 is a great product and has a unique positioning in the market where even some of the largest solutions might struggle. It’s ideally suited for the process and food-and-beverage industries. However, it is also very strong with agricultural verticals.
While the discrete market is super crowded with competing and overlapping solutions, the process market is highly fragmented, with several solutions in the small-sized and startup market such as SYSPRO, ProcessPro, Aptean Ross, and Deacom.
But there are very few solutions in the over $100 million range category, making Sage X3 an ideal solution and comparable to Epicor and Infor CSI for the process industries. Sage also has a very strong partner channel and a vibrant consulting community, just like other popular solutions such as SAP Business One or Microsoft Business Central. For these reasons, Sage X3 lands at number 7 on our list for the top 10 ERP systems for 2022.
Similar to Epicor, Infor Cloud Suite Industrial has very deep functionality for mixed-mode manufacturing. It is specially designed for large OEMs with a massive number of SKUs and complex BOMs and a strong field service component where several companies may be involved in fulfilling the transaction.
Infor CSI also offers the quality package natively as part of the suite, making Infor CloudSuite Industrial ideal for complex, regulated industries. However, while Infor CSI has very deep discrete manufacturing capabilities, it struggles with other business models where a company may be operating in multiple segments such as distribution or construction.
Infor CSI sits on top of Infor OS that has pre-integrated best-of-breed offerings that complement its core functionality. And since Infor acquired these products from other developers, the publicly available product documentation of CSI is not as rich as Acumatica or NetSuite. For these reasons, Infor CSI lands at #4 on our list for the top 10 ERP systems for 2022.
Like other mid-market ERP solutions such as Infor CSI or Sage X3, IFS has very deep functionality for companies in the airline ecosystem and the companies heavy in field services operations.
IFS is also a very global and cloud-native solution. And it provides far deeper functionality in these industries, sometimes deeper than the largest solutions such as SAP S/4 HANA or Oracle Cloud ERP. While not as popular, IFS has a well-developed ecosystem and rich publicly available documentation for the users and customers. The API model is similar to the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central or SAP Business ByDesign.
IFS is owned by a large private equity firm and has revenue under $1B, similar to QAD, Plex, and Unit4. For these reasons, IFS lands at #5 on our list of the top 10 ERP systems for 2022.
SAP S/4 HANA is still the market leader, with large enterprises requiring global functionality with deep localization capabilities in several continents. The only competition SAP S/4 HANA faces is Oracle and Microsoft in these accounts. However, the financial and control needs for these companies are very different. And because of these reasons, the financial features might take over the operational/subsidiary level needs.
Also, at the plant level, companies may use slightly more specialized solutions geared towards the business model of those divisions. SAP S/4 HANA is also used in the best-of-breed scenarios where SAP S/4 HANA may be utilized for financials while Salesforce for CRM, Workday for HCM, and ServiceNow for ITSM.
The companies that are the right fit for S/4 HANA have significant dollars and internal SAP COE that have prior experience with SAP products to build last-mile functionality on top of it. SAP S/4 HANA enjoys a large consulting base, but since it is behind in the native capabilities for cloud compared to other comparable solutions such as Oracle Cloud ERP and Microsoft Dynamics 365 F&O, it lands at 4 on our list of top 10 ERP systems in 2022.
Microsoft Dynamics F&O is typically a third-choice with larger global accounts after SAP S/4 HANA and Oracle Cloud ERP. MS has made significant advancements in its cloud-native capabilities with the F&O product. But the substantial majority of the product doesn’t have modern cloud-native UX.
Also, Microsoft likes to lead their engagements with CRM products where they still have a much larger market share. Also, Microsoft does not have a refined channel model like other ERP companies, which poses risks for the customers who might not understand how to navigate the Microsoft channel.
Microsoft has a very vibrant consulting community. But sometimes, there is a thin line between Microsoft talent that might support slightly more technical products than the ERP products. In addition, Microsoft F&O has a very small product share in the MS portfolio, and the overarching acquisition strategy is not aligned to the F&O product.
In fact, Microsoft likes to go after verticals where they will enjoy large development dollars and are likely to buy MS Azure licenses, which makes MS F&O not as desirable a product as the other products in their portfolio. Microsoft also does not report the revenue for its products. So it’s hard to find the revenue share and the number of installations for Microsoft F&O. For these reasons, Microsoft F&O lands at #3 on our list of the top 10 ERP systems for 2022.
Oracle is still behind SAP in terms of the overall ERP market share. But they are typically the second choice with most large, globalized companies. On the other hand, Oracle Cloud ERP is ahead compared to SAP S/4 HANA with its cloud-native capabilities. It can support multiple industries natively, even for the operational functionality, just like MS F&O.
Oracle also has a lead in the cloud-native ERP market with two leading solutions for SMB companies in the form of NetSuite. SAP, Microsoft, and Oracle have a much bigger consulting base and communities compared to other mid-market solutions such as Infor and Epicor. These companies’ consulting base makes it easy for companies to find talent to build their center of excellence (COEs) to build the last mile functionality or integrate the best of breed solutions.
Just like SAP and Microsoft, Oracle has one of the most comprehensive publicly available documentation for the consulting community and partners. For these reasons, Oracle ERP Cloud lands at #2 on our list of the top 10 ERP systems for 2022.
NetSuite is the #1 ERP solution because it has one of the largest market shares among cloud-native systems. It is also operationally deeper than Sage Intacct and more global than Acumatica.
It’s also not as complex as other competing more extensive solutions such as SAP S/4 HANA and Microsoft F&O. Additionally, it is one of the most comprehensive solutions for companies with diverse business models. The diverse business models could include native support for an omnichannel architecture, matrix/dimensional inventory, and subscription-based business models.
Unlike Microsoft, Oracle has a clear strategy to be an ERP company, and NetSuite is a huge enabler of that strategy. NetSuite also has a solid consulting base and talent if companies want to shop around for best-of-breed functionality and integrations. However, just like other cloud-native solutions such as Acumatica and Sage Intacct, NetSuite has one of the best publicly available documentation for the consulting communities and customers. For these reasons, NetSuite lands at #1 on our list of the top 10 ERP systems for 2022.
While you should never select an ERP system based on a list, this list should provide a rough gauge to know which ERP systems will continue to be successful and if any of them might be suitable for your industries.
On the other hand, several other ERP systems that are highly popular and have very vibrant communities, such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, SAP Business One, SAP Business ByDesign, Odoo, Unit4, QAD, Deltek, and Plex.
The only reason they didn’t make it to the list is that either they have too small a market share or are too focused on specific industries. Or they might not have as strong native operational functionality to be a strong contender for any industry.
But if you are an executive or a consultant and your goal is to build your career based on the next promising ERP ecosystems, this should be your list as these solutions are likely to rule the ERP industry for a very long time.
ERP vendors are companies that produce or develop ERP products. An ERP vendor could be a company like SAP. But the ERP system would be a product like SAP S/4 HANA. An ERP vendor may have multiple products in their portfolio like SAP S/4 HANA, SAP Business ByDesign, Or SAP BusinessOne.
If an enterprise software just covers one capability such as CRM, HCM, or eCommerce, they are not as integrated as the ERP system. The definition of an ERP system is that it must be a financial product with integrated accounting. And it must cater to the operational and financial workflows of the organization in an integrated manner.
Yes, that is right. But as far as our experience goes in the ERP industry. While the newer products may be promising and might overtake some of these products, the inventors evaluate based on the current market share and potential for growth. Also, the consultants are typically not as comfortable working on the upcoming products. So market share plays a very important role in the success of a product.
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